Saturday, November 27, 2010

Aphrodite: the Restaurant

It was Thanksgiving Day, Thursday for us Americans but for no one else of course.

 So actually although I was grateful that day I decided to be really grateful that our grateful houseguest, Roge , wanted to take us out to lunch on Friday.  To try something new, we took the advice of a couple of friends and went onto a well researched site of a friend of mine:
In it we found a restaurant Jeanne Oliver recommends:

  of David Faure

I can't say that David Faure has my sensibility for decorating or making a website or brochure or even the art he chooses.  I think he uses too many colors, the presentations are too "busy", too "gimmicky" and scattered.  His descriptions of food, defy categorization but undoubtedly they are meant to be both humorous and inventive.    But David Faure was awarded a Michelin star in 2010 before he closed his restaurant for renovation.  We all wanted to go and find out for ourselves what molecular cuisine was all about.

 The ambiance in the restaurant itself at 10 Dubuchage in central Nice is very pleasing .  Upon entering there is an indoor "cascade", some abstract paintings, two rooms, one with an entire wall covered with growing things ( plants from moss to fern). On the lower level dining room which we chose, there is a very impressive temperature controlled wine cellar which serves as a pleasing viewpoint.

I have to say that  I think it is such fun to go to a new place and to be hungry and eager to experience a creative meal.  

  We were in this state of anticipation as we scanned the menu. The fixed price menu is 25 euros for lunch , the next  was 38 euros and the gluttonous menu was for 100 euros per person.

 My gourmet husband, who has a very refined and well educated palate, takes offense when I call the expensive menu, "gluttonous" because quite rightly it is not usually about more food, but about dishes that are harder to find or prepare.  I know that hours of experimentation goes into a new dish is put on the menu by a serious chef.

Having the "carte: explained though, I still wanted the "carte de jour". It sounded just right with a choice of fish or pintade (guinea fowl).  

The men took the 38 euro menu with more choices.  Monsieur went for pork cheeks and our friend, Roge,  had an octopus stew. They did sound so much better written and pronounced in french.

For a starter, the two men had ordered a  fresh pea puree,  a fresh pea soup, with slices of marinated vegetables on top and a couple of poached quail eggs all beautifully arranged.  It was sensationally good.

My aperitif also was appreciated.  It was zucchini straws sauteed in a batter with fresh marinated tuna slices.

The entrees  were very well prepared. However my" dos de dorade" in an artichoke puree , I thought was the winner for the main course. 

This young chef is apparently famous for his vaporous/techno cuisine which is found on the 100 euro menu.  For an amuse geule we were all served a foamy lobster mist in a bunoise  of haricots. It had its own purple potato chips and toast.
 This was all about tasty flavored air.  Is this the molecular cuisine?  I 
would like to go again to try this new cuisine before I make a pronouncement about it.

We were pleased with the wine list. The sommelier  went to the trouble of pointing us to several "vins de pays" on the list which he feels deserve higher praise or appellation.  We ordered a crisp, fruity white from a Saint Jeannet, a local village.  It was around 32 euros .

  I am surprised to have finally found a "fine" restaurant where the addition of wine is not the deal breaker for those of us who want to go out more often.

  I might add that my husband is more than qualified to choose wines as he spent many years in the trade. I saw that he was having a good time reading the list and the waiter had to sort of beg for it back.

My only disappointment of the lunch over-all was in the desserts.  I would not say that they were not imaginative but they weren't quite there yet.  Some more experimenting needed to go on for my salad with two kinds of blue cheese "ice cream".    And it was too salty...a no no  especially in a fine restaurant.

Whatever spice was in my husband's cooked fruit salad was too alien.  The  only thing I really loved was the molten chocolate cake that Roge ordered.

 When desserts go too far afield , I won't waste the calories ; but I would have gobbled up that little chocolate cake!

  On the other hand, the usual dessert menus in this town are more than boring so keep up the research, M. Faure.

 There was a very good looking berry dessert ( it had instead raspberries)  that wafted past us.  I would like to try that one.

To finish the meal, the waiter brought us a choice of meringues with our coffee and some squares of fruit pate. ( above).

    Meringues in my opinion are over-rated and beyond comprehension. The only  possible thing to do with them is put a piece into your coffee instead of sugar.   The fruit pate was very good though,  with a strange melange of flavors including banana.

We had a fine lunch all in, and we will go again to this restaurant .   I was pleased too, not to leave too full.  The portions, I thought were just right.

  And I am grateful.  Absolutely.   Thanks to everyone who cooked, served , cleaned and paid!     And thanks to the "Wandering Epicureans" blog for these photos.


  1. Disclaimer: I spent about 20 minutes trying to line up the above post so that there was not a huge gap before the link. I am proud of my impatience and refusal to give the problem more time but I am sorry that it looks odd.
    best, mary

  2. This is where we took Zelda for her last meal in France the day before she left for the UK. I loved the pate and had an inedible de constructed soup au pistou. Glad you enjoyed it. Zelda went intothe kitchen to meet the chef at her own request!xx

  3. Bravo Maria, The post on the singers is Fantastic. (can't seem to leave a comment under it ) and the expressions on the faces of the listeners! Wonderful!.


  4. that was a wonderful description. too bad about the desserts though.